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The Stepping Stone: RN to BSN Programs in Kansas

Healthcare organizations, from the Tri-Council for Nursing to the Institute of Medicine, agree that baccalaureate level educations provides RNs with better preparation. This is because the healthcare system of tomorrow is very different from yesterday’s. Services are being moved from acute care hospitals to ambulatory centers and community outposts. This allows formerly underserved populations better access; it is necessary if the nation is going to efficiently provide medical care for a chronically ill population. According to the IOM, the United States needs to move from an acute care model to a focus on management and prevention. This is a natural arena for nurses. Still, more education is necessary if RNs are to sit down at the table with healthcare practitioners from other fields and have a role in reshaping healthcare policy.

What is offered in an RN to BSN program? You will study health assessment techniques. Coursework includes community and public health nursing, nursing leadership, and evidence-based practice You may have a chance to explore cotemporary issues within the field. There is often a capstone project that allows you to integrate your learning. Schools are beginning to offer more courses in subjects like genetics and elder care. Often there is an opportunity to put in service hours in areas like public health.

BSN Career Mobility in Kansas

According to Pittsburg State University, the rationale for completing a BSN can be summed up in two words career advancement. The degree is a must for certain leadership positions, and it is also a stepping stone to higher education and advanced practice.

A BSN is desired for various positions that require more or less autonomous work. A 2011 posting for diabetes educator at Menorah Medical Center, for example, asks for a nurse who can work with little or no supervision; this nurse’s job is to assess diabetes self-management skills and help the patient meet self-care objectives. Other positions that tend to favor BSN candidates include case manager and care coordinator.

Magnet hospitals are considered especially desirable employers, and they are generally able to hire and retain highly qualified candidates. Kansas has two magnet healthcare facilities, Stormont-Vail Healthcare in Topeka and the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City.

Kansas BSN Program Considerations

As an RN, you can expect to be granted advanced placement in a BSN program. You may be granted placement -- and college credits -- on the basis of your transcripts. If you graduated some time back and don’t have recent work experience, you may be asked to take validation exams. Successful performance on these will give you credit for lower level nursing courses. The total number of upper division nursing units you will need to complete will vary somewhat from college to college; thirty is typical.

Most RN to BS programs are designed for working professionals. If you choose your program carefully, you will find a good deal of flexibility. There are both full- and part-time tracks. Some schools will accommodate you if you have to reduce your courseload or take a semester or two off. At some schools, you are part of a cohort and are expected to move through the program at the same pace as your classmates At others, you are allowed to take classes at your own pace. Classes may last five to eight weeks at a time instead of being on a traditional semester schedule.

Tuition rates in Kansas are a bit lower than in some parts of the nation. The lowest pay per-credit rates are under $200. $500 is common, though. You may save by enrolling full-time and taking more than the minimum number of units for full-time status. If you are employed full-time, though, and want to do your schooling at a slower, pace, your best bet may be letting your employer pay. Some Kansas hospitals offer several thousand dollars a year in tuition reimbursement benefits. Students who are at least half-time often receive financial aid packages.

BSN Programs in Kansas

Baker University

Emporia State University

Fort Hays State University

Kansas Wesleyan University

MidAmerica Nazarene University

Newman University

Pittsburg State University

Tabor College

University of Kansas

University of Saint Mary

Wichita State University

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